THE husband of a Brit mum tortured to death by intruders broke down in tears after taking part in a police simulation of the brutal attack.
Cops reconstructed the chilling murder after entering a scene of horror where raiders had strangled Caroline Crouch, 20, and tied up her pilot husband in an upmarket suburb of Athens.
Caroline Crouch was killed by burglars in front of her husband and baby daughterCredit: Tim Stewart
Baby Lydia, 11 months, is taken from the crime scene in AthensCredit: Athena
Charalambos Anagnostopoulos fought back the tears after taking part in a reconstruction of his wife’s murderCredit: Athena
Talking to reporters outside the two-story building that the doomed coupled had once called their home, Caroline’s husband Charalambos Anagnostopoulos said: “There are up to 20 people right now out on the street looking [for them],”
“I’ve been in contact and collaborating with the police all these days and authorities already have evidence in their hands about the murder.”
Urging people to come forward with information, he added: “Authorities have a picture and they are now trying to put the puzzle together.”
The 32-year-old revealed it was only when police untied him that he “understood his wife was dead.”
The dream island of Alonissos where Caroline had been bought up had been thrown “into huge mourning” its mayor, Petros Vafinis, told the Sun.
“We’re a small island, everyone knew Caroline who had been schooled here and was one of our home, he said.
“She was lovely, a girl scout and brilliant in martial arts. They were the perfect couple, so in love, so happy, but unfortunately fate didn’t smile on them,” he added, saying the pair had first met on the island.
“To think that she is gone, at such a tender age and so unfairly is very hard,” he said.
“We are all very shocked, very upset.”
Caroline’s body was expected to be returned to the island today ahead of a funeral taking place at 3pm tomorrow.
Her dad, David, who is gravely sick, had not left the villa he had built overlooking the sea since news of his daughter’s death had first emerged.
The sadistic gang pointed a gun at the baby’s head as they tortured CarolineCredit: Tim Stewart
The crooks may have been tipped off that the couple had a stash of banknotes at homeCredit: Tim Stewart
“He fell in love with the island many years ago before he even met Caroline’s mum Susan in Athens where he worked in an oil and gas company,” the mayor said. “It was his dream house. They all loved it here.”
Officers described seeing Caroline’s body tied to a pole where the burglars had tortured her in the family’s attic bedroom, reports Pro Thema.
The couple’s baby Lydia, 11 months, was “half on her, screaming and hitting her mother with her hands to wake her up”.
The victim’s husband Charalambos was tied up with rope “like a sausage” and also handcuffed, with insulating tape over his eyes and mouth, reports said.
He is believed to have suffered hypoxia – a potentially fatal lack of oxygen – before wriggling free and calling police in the early hours of Sunday.
Charalambos has told investigators he begged for their lives as the brutal thieves held a gun to the baby’s head and demanded to know where they kept their cash and jewels.
Detectives have reportedly drawn up a “red list” of 100 suspects including foreigners and Greek nationals who have recently been freed from jail.
They are also probing possible links to five other robberies last year, which were also characterised by shocking levels of violence.
Officers suspect the gang may have been tipped off that the couple had £13,000 in banknotes stashed in the house.
Police at the crime scene in a suburb of AthensCredit: Rex
Police believe the gang watched the family from this path, and entered through a basement window at 4.30amCredit: Athena
The money was to pay for builders after they bought a plot of land and was reportedly hidden in a Monopoly box.
Police believe the gang had information on the land sale and believed they would find a large amount of money in the house, in an upmarket Athens suburb, Skai.gr reports.
But according to newsit.gr murder cops are looking at whether the information came from within the couple’s inner circle.
“We are concentrating on the mistakes they made,” one well-placed police source told the Sun.
“They may have seen themselves as ‘professional burglars’ but they were in the house for a long time, for more than an hour at least, and there is a lot of DNA that has helped us in the inquiry. They literally turned over the house, went through every drawer, closet and cupboard and Caroline put up a fight.”
The Greek government has announced a £300,000 bounty for information that might lead to the culprits. “People have begun to ring in but there has been nothing earth shattering yet,” the officer added.
A distraught Charalambos told investigators the terrified couple pleaded with the depraved gang not to hurt them and their baby, as his wife screamed for help.
The gang kept torturing her, convinced more money was hidden in the house.
“They kept telling me ‘where is the money, eh?’. I told them right away where I had hidden the money, so that the torment could end quickly.
“I heard my wife constantly screaming for help tied to the bed as I was tied up. The baby was crying, my wife was crying.”
The thieves eventually escaped with more than £30,000 in cash and jewellery.
The three robbers forced their way into the family’s two storey house at 4.30am after breaking a CCTV camera and hanging the family’s dog by its own leash.
A fourth criminal kept watch outside the home as the other three found the couple sleeping with their child in an attic bedroom.
A police spokesperson told the local news outlet The Dawn that police believe the suspects broke into the house through a window in the basement after spending several hours observing the family.
The young mum fought for the life of her baby cops have saidCredit: Tim Stewart
Caroline may have been strangled with her own t-shirtCredit: Supplied as a technical service. No is implied or inferred.
A post-mortem examination was taking place yesterday and it is believed she may have been strangled with her own T-shirt.
Meanwhile police are colleting DNA samples from the couple’s clothes and from Caroline’s fingernails, which could lead them to the gang.
Samples from Caroline Crouch’s fingernails show evidence of her frantic struggle as she fought back against her torturers and are now being examined by investigators.
“Clothes that the couple were wearing at the time of the incident and samples from the nails of the victim, who fought for her life and that of her baby, have been recovered and now being examined for any generic material that could help identify the perpetrators,” said a police spokesman.
CCTV footage from nearby homes and businesses was also being examined and door to door enquiries were also taking place.
Another police officer quoted in Greek media claimed the gang had been identified and were well known.
“The three robbers are professionals. They have what we call a criminal past,” said the cop.
“That is, they are marked, they have gone through prisons and as it turned out, they are people with a strong anti-social element and a complete lack of emotions.”
The gang subjected her to a prolonged attackCredit: Tim Stewart
Caroline was brought up in GreeceCredit: Tim Stewart
He said the sadistic gang “used their hands” to kill the young mum despite having weapons in what was a “prolonged physical contact” with their victim.
The officer said the killers had the opportunity to walk away but didn’t.
“This clearly shows their intention to kill. In a robbery, the question is money. It was not necessary to kill to achieve the goal.
“They took the money, but they will be charged with murder. A crime that will send them behind bars for many years.
Caroline’s British father moved to Greece 20 years ago where he lives with his Filipina wife who was said to be in Athens with investigators.
Marilena Poniraki, who taught Caroline on the island of Alonissos where she lived with her parents, paid tribute to her.
“I will always remember her so happy, she was a very remarkable creature, it is a great pity what has happened.”
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